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A dynamic weighting system considering temporal variations using the DTT approach in LCA of buildings

Su, Shu, Zhu, Chen, Li, Xiaodong
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.220 pp. 398-407
buildings, decision making, environmental impact, environmental policy, life cycle assessment, planning, residential housing, temporal variation
Weighting is an important step that supports comparison and decision-making in the LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) of buildings. However, temporal variations of weighting systems have not been adequately studied. Given the increasing demand of addressing time issues in LCA, this study attempts to develop a dynamic weighting system. Three common weighting approaches—expert panel, monetization, and DTT (distance-to-target)—are compared, and the DTT approach is selected for utilization. Temporal variations of emission targets and resource characteristics are considered in the new weighting system, which includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term weighting factors. The dynamic weighting system makes it possible to quantify environmental impacts with temporal-varying environmental policies and planning, and the assessment results could better guide design improvements with various environmental priorities in different periods considered. A residential building is taken as case to test the operability of the new weighting system. The significant difference between the assessment results weighted by the traditional versus the dynamic weighting systems indicates the necessity of considering temporal variations.